CALIFORNIA: Jairus Ayeta Maasa has been confirmed as the seventh death in the deadly Carr Fire ravaging California, according to CCN News. Ayeta worked as an apprentice lineman for Pacific Gas and Electric, and the company claims he was doing restoration work in Shasta County when a vehicle accident occurred.
PG&E released a statement with condolences to Ayeta’s family. “Safety of our employees and customers is PG&E’s top priority. Our thoughts and prayers are with our fallen team member, their family, and our extended team. We are working with law enforcement to investigate the circumstances of the incident,” PG&E spokesperson said.
Ayeta, 21, studied the Electrical Lineworker Program at Northwest Lineman College, according to his profile. He graduated in 2015. His profile states that he is from Kampala, Uganda, but was living in Santa Rosa, California at the time of his death. He also worked for a company called Pike Electric, and stated in the comments of a photo that he was only working at PG&E for extra money.
He updated his profile picture with a smiling photo of himself in his Pike uniform, with the caption: “Working for a power company made me realize I made the best decision of my life, everyday’s something new, can’t wait to see what the future beholds.”
In August, 2015, he posted on Facebook, exclaiming his excitement at getting a new job. “Finally got a Job ! Moving to Maimi, [sic] Florida to start my career. Woohooo!! Any other NLC graduates heading out there too hit me up.”
Ayeta was a sports fan, as shown by his “likes” on Facebook. He supported the Boston Celtics, Pittsburgh Steelers and Chelsea Football Club.
Meanwhile Ayeta’s father Mr. Massa Stephen Hardings was so devastated upon receiving the sad news of his son’s demise. “I loved my son so much, he was a hardworking boy and I hope since he died while on duty, the US government will ensure that they deliver his casket to me soon enough peacefully ” He cried out.
A GoFundMe page has been created to help support Ayeta’s family. In the description on the page, Ayeta is described as a “beautiful soul,” with a “smile that could like up a room.”
“Jairus Ayeta was a 21 year old apprentice lineman for Pacific Gas and Electric originally from Kampala, Uganda,” the description reads. “He had a smile that could light up a room and a laugh that was infectious to all of those around him. He had a strong work ethic and was always jumping at the opportunity to learn new things and work with his friends.”
The description continued: “He was loved by many and played a key role in the upbeat atmosphere of his apprentice class. With a sad heart he put his climbers on for the last time on Saturday August 4th, 2018 while aiding in restoring power after the tragic Carr fire. We are raising funds for his family in this difficult time. We ask that you keep his family, close friends and co-workers in your thoughts and prayers as we mourn the loss of this beautiful soul.”
The page has raised $18,976 of the $60,000 goal as of Sunday evening.
The Carr Fire has destroyed more than 1,000 homes in and around Redding. The massive wildfire has grown to 154,524 acres and is 41 percent contained, according to ABC 7 News. CNN reported Sunday that the Carr Fire was actually sparked by a flat tire.
I would like everyone to stop and take a look at what the firefighters in California are facing right now. I have so much respect for wild land firefighters. An instructor during the fire academy told me “those wild land guys are crazy. Y’all have nothing on them”
The Carr Fire has already killed six other people, including a great-grandmother and two children, according to NPR. More than 4,500 firefighters have been battling the blaze for nearly two weeks, facing triple-digit temperatures and winds up to 30 mph, according to The Los Angeles Times.
In response to the devastating wildfires in Shasta County, Tri Counties Bank has created a verified GoFundMe campaign to help those impacted by the fires.